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Amazon chimes in late to the chat party with UC move

Amazon Chimes

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has decided to take on the incumbents in enterprise unified comms by belatedly launching the Amazon Chime UC portfolio.

In the mould of Google Hangout, Cisco Webex and Microsoft Lync, Amazon is pushing Chime as your one-stop-enterprise-shop for all things to do with work chat. In a blog post announcing Chime, AWS’s chief evangelist Jeff Barr says Amazon just can’t stop being so darned efficient.

“This is a new unified communication service that is designed to make meetings easier and more efficient than ever before,” he said. “Amazon Chime lets you start high-quality audio and video meetings with a click. Once you are in the meeting you can chat, share content, and share screens in a smooth experience that spans PC and Mac desktops, iOS devices, and Android devices.”

On the face of things, it doesn’t look like Amazon is introducing anything new or revolutionary with Chime, or features that you just won’t see anywhere else. Amazon listed five clear selling points to its new offering, see what you think:

  • On-Time Meetings - “You no longer need to dial in to meetings. There’s no need to enter long meeting identifiers or equally long passwords. Instead, Amazon Chime will alert you when the meeting starts, and allow you to join (or to indicate that you are running behind) with a single click or tap.”
  • Meeting Roster – “Instead of endless ‘who just joined’ queries, Amazon Chime provides a visual roster of attendees, late-comers, and those who skipped out entirely. It also provides broadly accessible mute controls in case another participant is typing or their dog is barking.”
  • Broad Access – “Amazon Chime was built for mobile use, with apps that run on PCs and mobile devices. Even better, Amazon Chime allows you to join a meeting from one device and then seamlessly switch to another.”
  • Easy Sharing – “Collaborating is a core competency for Amazon Chime. Meeting participants can share their screens as desired, with no need to ask for permission. Within Amazon Chime’s chat rooms, participants can work together and create a shared history that is stored in encrypted fashion.”
  • Clear Calls – “Amazon Chime delivers high quality noise-cancelled audio and crisp, clear HD video that works across all user devices and with most conference room video systems

It seems like Amazon is more than just a little bit late to the chat party, as at least three of its nearest and dearest competitors are already well established. You know it’s going to be a tough ask breaking into a field when existing products are already so synonymous with the industry that the product name has become a verb.

“Shall we Webex it?” is a fairly common saying in business nowadays.

Google ended up profiting quite nicely out of becoming a verb, Amazon might have a tricky time getting Chime up to that status. That said, it isn’t as though Amazon doesn’t already have a mahoosive pool of AWS clients to which it could heavily pitch its new UC service. This could be the start of a drive to sell other B2B cloud services into existing AWS customers.

Here’s a video which highlights how annoying conference calls are today, and why Amazon reckons Chime will easily solve that.

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